Take part in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch and help the RSPB

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It will be eyes to the skies on Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26, as people across the length and breadth of the country take part in the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

The activity is the biggest garden wildlife survey in the world. Last year 1,157 people in Angus joined over 47,000 Scots to count the birds in their gardens or local parks.

The most common garden visitor in the Angus area was the house sparrow with an average of seven spotted at any one time.

Since its launch in 1979, the Big Garden Birdwatch has provided RSPB Scotland with information about changes in numbers of garden birds in winter, and helped alert conservationists to any worrying declines.

In 2013, the survey revealed that sightings of one of the country’s most threatened garden regulars, the starling, fell by a further seven per cent.

It means since the turn of the century, the average number of starlings spotted in Scottish gardens during the Big Garden Birdwatch has dropped by almost a quarter (22 per cent). Numbers of house sparrows, also on the red list, dropped by almost 8 per cent in gardens compared to 2012.

This year, for the first time, participants are being asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens too.

RSPB Scotland wants to know whether people ever see deer, squirrels, badgers, hedgehogs, frogs and toads in their gardens to help build an overall picture of how important gardens are for giving all types of wildlife a home.

Once RSPB Scotland knows which species people are regularly seeing, it will also be able to tailor its advice on giving nature a home so that people can help their wild visitors nest, feed and breed effectively.

Visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch and www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch to find out how to take part at home or at school.